RECENTLY appointed Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube is set to start his duties in October as he is completing his notice at his current base in the resort town of Victoria Falls amid a salary tug-of-war between the Bulawayo City Council and Government after the local authority recently rejected an order to have the Town Clerk’s salary slashed from $9 000 to $7 400.
The tiff between BCC and the Government over salaries has seen the local authority’s budget not being approved. The 55-year-old is employed as the Victoria Falls Town Clerk. He snapped up the top council job in Bulawayo left vacant after the passing on of Mr Middleton Nyoni, beating contenders who also included the Bulawayo Acting Town Clerk, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou.
A couple of weeks ago the local authority allegedly declined to cut basic salaries of the council’s top officials and instead, they reduced their monetary allowances in line with the salaries benefits ratio of 60 percent to 40 percent. They went on to replace the monetary allowances with non-monetary benefits which will only be awarded to the “executive group”, a move that has put them at loggerheads with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
However, Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Martin Moyo said they had complied with the Government directive saying that when comparing their former Town Clerk’s salary and the Government stipulated salary they were highly compliant.
“Mr Middleton Nyoni used to get $5 182 so you see that already our salary fell well short of their $7 400, so it is clear that we fell within the stipulated figure. As for the non-monetary benefits it’s all about creating a conducive environment for our employees,” said Clr Moyo.
On when Mr Dube would start working, Clr Moyo said they were still negotiating with him but said they would give him a maximum of three months for him to wind up at his current base in Victoria Falls.
“We are talking to him on the actual starting date but we expect that it be around October as he would have to serve his three months notice, if he doesn’t start by then that’s when we will become worried. However, what I must confirm is that everything is already in place for him to resume his duties, I am in constant contact with him and he has already received his letter of appointment,” said Clr Moyo.
Impeccable council sources revealed that councillors had resolved to maintain the $9 000 salary for Mr Dube noting that the Bulawayo job was one which required a highly motivated person. The source revealed that councillors felt that there was no need to slash the Town Clerk’s salary noting that it fell within their budgetary projects for the year, this despite their budget still yet to be approved by the Government.
“We have maintained the $9 000 salary for the new Town Clerk at the same time we have opened talks for his non-monetary benefits which will be awarded not only to the new Town Clerk but to the other members who are in the executive group. Councillors felt that there was no need to slash the salaries because they are clearly stated in the budget. Besides the job of the city’s Town Clerk is one of the most important in the city if not the country as a whole hence the need to have a salary that equates to the job,” said the source.
Mr Dube acknowledged receiving his letter of appointment but declined to comment, saying it would be premature as he was completing his resignation process in Victoria Falls.
“Yes, I have received my letter of appointment from the Bulawayo City Council. I have since written and handed over my resignation to the Victoria Falls Town Council of which it was tabled at the general purposes committee meeting, now it will go before full council. For now I cannot comment on anything pertaining to my appointment in Bulawayo, the Mayor, (Councillor Martin Moyo) is the only one who can give a substantive comment,” said Mr Dube.
Last month the Government, through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, ordered the local authority to cut the Town Clerk’s salary from $9 000 to $7 400 and further ordered that salaries adhere to the 60 percent to 40 percent benefits ratio.
However, according to a confidential report the local authority rejected the move, instead maintaining its schedule of salaries for officials.
“The general purposes committee thus resolved to recommend that the salaries and allowances for Grade One to 12 be not rationalised, that is the current salary structure for the above mentioned grades be maintained as is. That the basic salaries of employees in the executive group be maintained as they are currently.
“That the allowance of the Town Clerk and other employees in the executive group be rationalised in line with the minister’s directive such that they are 40 percent of the total pay package and that the negotiations for non-monetary benefits be opened with employees in the executive group,” reads the report.
According to a circular sent to the local authority, dated 5 May 2016, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo, the ministry had realised that most local authorities were paying unsustainable salaries and allowances to their top executives.
“After realisation that local authorities are paying unsustainable salaries and allowances at the expense of basic service delivery the Government seeks to rationalise the remuneration for all local authorities’ employees. With immediate effect your inclusive total pay package shall not exceed $7 400. The salary benefits ratio must be 60 percent to 40 percent. The value of all allowances and other benefits that accrue to you must not exceed 40 percent of the total package as given. This ratio must also be applied to total pay packages of council employees across all grades,” reads part of the letter.
- Twitter: @vusadb